YOUNG, FRESH, EASY ENERGY
NZ International Comedy Festival 2012|
JAMES ROQUE, ELI MATTHEWSON and EDITH POOR in MINORITY REPORT
at Brooklyn Bar - 57 Lorne St, Auckland
From 2 May 2012 to 5 May 2012
Reviewed by Nik Smythe, 3 May 2012
Eli, Edith and James hit the stage with fresh young friendliness, here to raise awareness of their respective minority-type inflictions: James is Asian, Eli's gay, and Edith's a woman.
To get us into the vibe of persecuted underdogs, the gang warms up the crowd by getting us to play a rhythmic underbed for their rudimentary topical rapping styles (incorporating some minorities contained in the audience such as ‘disabled' and ‘sexy') with the repeating chorus "Can you deal with that?" Simultaneously clever and lame. And the twenty-odd punters are well relaxed as the first of the three takes the stage for his set.
Amiable Filipino lad James Roque describes his experience growing up Asian in Auckland. He grew up with low self-esteem, failing miserably on school sports days but finding some consolation amusing himself by playing on the presumptions of locals who frequently assume he can't speak English. As a scrawny Asian bookworm he couldn't get a girlfriend, and as a driver he feels unfairly judged. James carries off his twenty minutes with a controlled sense of ease, not seeming at all too bitter or traumatized from the stories he's shared, but he's young yet.
Wryly convivial Edith Poor follows, a self-confessed nineteen year-old weirdo. Like James, her view of the world is to some degree jaded but not totally sardonic; more like the comfortable cynicism enjoyed by young misfits. The up-front gag, that females comprise over half the human population but are still often treated as minorities, is left to speak for itself rather than explained or exploited. Instead Edith regales us with heroically lame jokes about periods and a splendiferous left-field original play (sadly sans soundtrack due to faulty kazoos) concerning Oprah, Jackie Chan and the fate of NZ comedy. Weird? Noo…
Finally, genial gayboy Eli Matthewson takes centre stage to tell us how it is for a young homosexual these days, beginning with the point of self-discovery while playing The Sims. The heist-movie like tale of his mother's reaction to the news, wannabe Grandma as she is, is misguided at pretty much every turn. After a few suggested ways to gay up Hollywood film classics, and confessing his plan to address the frustration he endures with the prejudice of women, always assuming he's got the best fashion advice just because he's queer, Eli concludes with the sensitive paean of forbidden love from a dying stormtrooper, for… well, not to give it away I'll just say Star Wars' gayest character.
No grand crescendos of mirth, or awkward gaps of painful silence; all in all the easy energy of this trio of fresh young talent passes the hour in good spirits.
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